Archive for the ‘Elon Musk’ Category

Tesla’s Model S Get Over-Air Autopilot Update – Driving Becomes More Stressful Than Before

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Tesla Model S just got an update…

An update that now lets the car take the wheel while you clench every fiber in your being and level up your blood pressure to new levels when it does.

Tesla’s Model S just received an over-air update that allows the car to drive autonomously…well…sort of…

As long as the Tesla can detect the cars around it and the painted lines on the road everything’s great. It’s almost like “The Future is HERE!” great.


Still unable to read stop signs and light signals, the autonomous update appropriately called “Autopilot Mode” still has a long way to go before we can truly trust computer to fully take the wheel. Moving along in a crowd of cars, the Tesla will do everything for you including changing lanes. Once the car is the first car at an intersection, however, it’s up to the driver for a few minutes until the car is moving again.

Elon Musk, in the statement about the update, can’t be explicit enough about relinquishing control to an automated system that’s not anywhere near where it needs to be to just let go of the wheel and start episode-binging on Netflix.

“It’s almost to the point where you can take your hands off…but we’re very clearly saying this is not a case of abdicating responsibility. The hardware and software are not yet at the point where a driver can abdicate responsibility. [The system] requires drivers to remain engaged and aware when Autosteer is enabled. Drivers must keep their hands on the steering wheel.”

Because there’s nothing more jarring than being yanked out of an intense Netflix movie to suddenly avoid dying in a collision.


[video] Falcon Rocket Goes Boom in Epic Explosion

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

For those that haven’t seen it or listened to the last episode of WeirdThings where we discuss what happened.

Here’s the video of the Falcon rocket going all Hollywood explosion-ish during its attempted soft landing on the autonmous barge after returning from a resupply mission to the ISS.

According to posts on Twitter by Musk, a shortage in hydraulic fluid used by the stabilizing vanes caused the rocket to land in an almost horizontal position. Once the rocket hit the deck of the barge and leftover fuel in the take ignited?


An explosion so awesome Michael Bay just hung his head in shame.

Musk responded to the event with his usual no-big-deal-shrug, a smile and let everyone know what was up via Twitter:

“Next rocket landing on drone ship in 2 to 3 weeks w way more hydraulic fluid. At least it shd explode for a diff reason.”

In two to three weeks we’re pretty sure there’ll be cigars and champagne all over SpaceX celebrating the successful landing of a completely reusable rocket.


Jump! Jump! Grasshopper Rocket Stretches Its Legs in Latest Test

Saturday, August 17th, 2013

SpaceX keeps coaxing their Grasshopper rockets into longer jumps as they continue to develop their reusable rocket program.

In the latest test, shown in this video, SpaceX’s Grasshopper rocket takes another leap into the history books by making a longer jump away from and safe return to the dead center of its launch pad. Seriously. Watch it!

For those who’d like to know why all the space nerds and getting so excited? Think of the two little rockets attached to the giant fuel tank that the shuttle would piggyback on. Two minutes into the flight they detach, deploy multiple parachutes and land about 150 miles off the coast where a small army of a recovery crew retrieves the boosters, using two specially designed boats. During this whole process motors inside the boosters are used to basically blow-dry the interiors from all the ocean they gulped during their time at sea. Turnaround time is a long process.

Along comes Elon Musk with the idea of a booster that’s like a homing pigeon. It goes up, does its job and then instead of helplessly landing in the middle of the ocean like Bambi on an ice pond, it flies itself back home, landing on its own little pad like a puppy playing frisbee and waiting for the next throw.

The Grasshopper eliminates a lot of space taken up in an old-school booster for chute deployment systems, allows for quicker turnaround time and stops about a hundred people from having to towel off a couple of giant booster rockets.

SpaceX is getting closer to their first take-off/recovery ‘landing’ where they’ll be substituting the ocean for dry land to see how the Grasshopper returns back to the ‘ground’. Once those tests are completed, it won’t be long before the Grasshopper does what Musk hopes it’ll do…

Move us into space faster and more frequently than ever before.


The Hyperloop – Elon Musk’s 4,000mph Tube Cars!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Elon Musk continues to push our ideas about what’s possible right now at this very moment. Musk’s creations all seem to be geared at moving people faster and more efficiently. Which brings us to his next big idea with a name that any kid of the 90s can appreciate…the Hyperloop.

Hyperloop is Musk’s answer to getting Californians from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Nope. Not a typo. LA to San Fran in 3O minutes. At about 4,000 miles an hour.

Like the stuff of sci-fi a junkie’s dreams, the Hyperloop is a six-person pod the size of a car that will enter a tube and shoot passengers 800 or so miles between the two big cities in about the time it takes you to slam a latte, eat a danish and check your news feeds.

If Musk’s track record of tearing through red tape and just getting the future built already is any indication of whether or not this will happen, California may as well just scrap the multi-billion dollar old-school, dumpy train that the state is planning on building.

[The American Interest]

Interactive Look Inside Space X’s Dragon Capsule!

Friday, October 19th, 2012

If you’ve been following WeirdThings for any length of time now, you know that every time space exploration is mentioned we grab our big, pointy-fingered, foam hand and start fist-pumping toward the heavens.

Most of us are never going to get the chance to hop inside any of Space X’s amazing space vehicles and just sit there like little kids in the coolest toy store ever.

Everyone make a sad face.

But now you can give a big hug to our old buddy the Internet for helping Space X provide us with a panoramic view of what it’s like inside the Dragon capsule!

Go visit, take a look around and linger (images will transistion revealing airlocks, storage lockers opening and more) over the interior of a vehicle which is heralding one amazing future.

[Space X]

Meet the Avengers of Science: Earth’s Mightiest Brains Assembled (Also Ashton Kutcher)

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012
Singularity University.jpg

They meet at school.

Singularity University to be exact. A who’s who of future makers with a collected resume that would make Alexander the Great offer to bus tables in their presence.

Singularity University_ meet the people who are building our future | Technology | The Observer.jpgMusk. Page. Aldrin. Cerf. Valley start-up billionaires. Hollywood big wigs. Those who have shattered scientific barriers. And Ashton Kutcher and and Lady Gaga’s PR strategist.

But hell, even the Avengers could make use of Ant Man.

Together they hold blue sky brainstorming sessions that could change the world. United under the vision of X Prize founder (and recently announced Asteroid Miner) Peter Diamandis, the match an unprecedented amount of human computing power with the money and ambition to tackle nearly any problem.

The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr was lucky enough to sit in on a session and wrote a fantastic piece about it.

But first, the co-founder of the Singularity University, Peter Diamandis, gives us our instructions for the day. Your task, he says, is to pick one of the “grand challenges of humanity” – the lack of clean drinking water, say. And then come up with an idea that “can positively impact the lives of a billion people”.

It’s 9.30 in the morning. Some of us haven’t even had coffee yet. There’s about 50 of us present and the room has been divided up into tables, one for education, another for poverty, another for water, and I’m not sure where I should sit. Diane Murphy, the university’s PR executive, hesitates for a moment and then directs me over to the table marked “food”. “Tell you what,” she says. “Why don’t you take Ashton Kutcher’s chair over there. He’s not coming until later.” (When he does arrive, he pulls up a chair at the next table over. What can I say? If Ashton Kutcher fails to solve global hunger, it will be my fault.)

Avengers assemble.